Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas

So Thanksgiving is over. Anyone feeling overstuffed? It was a quiet one for me, just my son and husband. Did our traditional big meal and then fell asleep to "A Christmas Carol". Life is good!

Now it's on to the important stuff - Christmas shopping! Now if you are pressed for ideas or hints to give your significant other, let me help you. Why not ask for a "Face Cane Class" taught by yours truly. What a magnificent idea you say! Tell me more. Well there are two opportunities coming up in the near future to do just that. I will be teaching a two day Face Cane workshop in Texas on Jan 15 and 16, 2011. This is being hosted by the North Texas Polymer Clay Guild. This will be two fun filled and jam packed days where we will build a complete face cane. See the picture above. I really like these black and white graphic canes. You can easily add color punch with a border around or leave them plain when making your pendants and other jewelry. If you are interested in this class )and I think there are still a few spots left) contact Babette Cox at Here is a web page that tells more about it.

If you are on the East Coast I will be teaching a one day face cane class as part of Cabin Fever Clay Fest in Maryland on Feb 19. Come join me along with other polymer artists such as Judith Skinner, Jeff Dever, Sarah Shriver and more. (I just love having my name associated with such great artists) In this class we will building a cane with just the features of a woman. I have been to Cabin Fever many times as a student and it is very well run. To hear more go here.

These classes are not made for the beginning clayer, But if you have been claying awhile and you want to take your caning to the next level (and have one Hell of a good time) then ask your Hubby to give you a class with Julie Eakes for Christmas this year!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Niche Award Finalist

Ok I don't know how to tell y'all something I find hard to believe. Today I received an email informing me that I am a finalist in the 2011 Niche Awards for polymer clay. I barely made the cut off for the entry but boy I am glad I did. I am very honored. The winners will be announced in Feb. These are the two pieces that I entered. I am not sure which one was selected. It has motivated me to get back to creating my own art. I have enjoyed teaching but it sure takes up a lot of time.

Speaking of teaching I just got back from Wisconsin and the Polymer Clay Fest. I had a great time. It was a small gathering but a good group. I had my first problem with TSA and clay. I had some clay that I needed for class in my carry on bag and they wouldn't let me take it thru. I told them I had taken clay on several flights but all they said was "well you're not taking it on this one". Insert expletive! That meant checking another bag (and $35) and going thru security for the second time. Insert expletive! Now don't we all feel safer now. Now I have two knee replacements so I am used to delays at security but coming home it was the first time I ever got a full body pat down. I had to listen to this woman explain how she was going to use the back of her hand for sensitive areas like my buttocks and breasts. Oh what fun. Yes you can insert expletive here too. I hated to tell her that I could have had a grenade between my boobs that she would not have felt but I didn't want to push it. I couldn't believe that they couldn't afford a metal detector wand. OK that's enough bitching about my flight. Back to the good news - A Niche Finalists Wow!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Here! It's Here!

Oh happy day! My Simmons Slicer is here! I got it put together and I was slicing away in no time. I have two retreats coming up that I am teaching at. (Clay Fest in Wisconsin and Clay Carnival in Vegas) Both are having swaps. Now if you know me at all you know I haven't even thought about what I am going to do for my swaps. Well after today I don't have to worry about it. This baby can slice up any cane into thin and even slices. It's just a matter of making the back and applying the slice. And I can get so much out of an inch of cane.
I have been working on finishing some pieces for sale at above mentioned retreats. I will definitely make use of my slicer. I will post some pics when I get them finished.
It's back to slicing.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Come See Me!

Well it's only a few weeks until Cabin Clay Fest in Wausau, Wi. I will be teaching a caning class there. Kathryn tells me that there are still a few spots left so I hope y'all can join us. It's going to be a great time. (Of course it will! I will be there!) There is also a pre-confernece class with Jeff Dever. I have taken many classes over the years and I have to say that Jeff's class is one of the best that I have ever taken. I just love his style of polymner art and he is a wonderful instructor. I don't think he teaches many classes and you should really take advantage of the opportunity.


Other news - I am still waiting for my Simmon's Slicer. A few changes were made and I think it will be here soon. I can hardly stand the waiting. That's the good news. The bad news is I think that I have become allergic to something in my studio. It seems like I am well one week and then I work on a project and BAM! the nose starts running, I'm sneezing, sinus headache, etc. At first I thought it was the super glue but I wasn't using that the last time. I was baking though. Maybe my oven needs to cleaned out from all the polymer residue. Anybody else out there ever experience this?

I will be going to Asheville this weekend for our October Clay Play day. It has been a long time since I have been able to make a meeting so I am excited. It's a special day and is open to anyone if you are in the area stop by.
Check out this link that Cynthia Tinapple sent to me. I loved it.

That's all for now.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Finished Pieces

I know it is rare for me to finish many pieces but here are two. One is a pendant the other a wall hanging. For the pendant I tried to give it a look of a framed masterpiece. I worked up some intricate caning for the "gilded" frame. The other is my "end piece" mosaic. I added it to a canvas that I covered with clay.

I just got back from a class with Kathleen Dustin. It was in Santa Fe and it was wonderful. She was trying to help us all find our own voice with our art. I came with an idea of doing an organic piece but after talking with Kathleen I had renewed vision of my mosaics. I only had a small section of my latest cane with me but I worked on some new shapes and designs with it. I left with a new plan for more mosaics. To tell you the truth it was hard working in Santa Fe because we were on this lovely porch overlooking the mountains. I know... life it hard sometimes.

I am back home now putting the finishing touches on my book and my class for Yes there are still boxes to unload but I figure they aren't going anywhere!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Another SLICE of Heaven!

If you have been following my blog you have read about my trials and tribulations over slicing one of my canes. Well you can see by the pictures that I have finally found a solution. Last May I met the Caner Extraordinaire Carol Simmons at a retreat. If you haven't seen her work you should crawl out of that rock that you are under and Google her. Her canes are amazing. Her technique is one that you want to slap yourself in the head over. (But you'll have to learn that from her. I was lucky that I heard her speak at Synergy this year.) Anyway, I was happy to be invited to her lovely home in Colorado. (Did you know that Denver, the Mile High city, is really flat??? I need to get out more. ... I know I digress.) Carol has been working with a friend and engineer on a new slicing machine. Well I almost slipped on my drool while using it. It is hard to explain how thin these slices can be. In fact, Carol kept asking me why I was dialing them up to be so "thick". I told her my brain just couldn't handle the really thin slices. Actually the makeup of the mosaics meant that they need to be a little "thicker" so as not to come apart. And by "thicker" I mean really thin. We put the largest cane I had with me which was my first mosaic cane. I'd say about 4 inches high. It sliced thru it like butter. Thin! Even! Easy! Drool! Drool! I have signed up to buy the first slicer. Now I don't think that this will be the must have item for all clayers but for me it was invaluable. Nothing worse than working three weeks on a cane to have it fall victim to crappy slicing. If you think about all you could do with thin, even slices you took will fall in love with this machine. Think of the things that you could cover. If you don't have equal slices when you go to apply them to an object you get distortion when smoothing them in. Or perhaps Mokume Gane is your love. Get your hanky out because I see drool coming. So far there are only two or three of these things in existence. I know we came up with a few modifications that need to be made. Ok now you have come to the end of this commercial... you know the part when you hear the bad news. I think it is going to sell for around $700. I bet that stopped the drool in mid-spit. For me it was worth it. Keep an eye on Carol's website for more information.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mosaic in progress

Everyone has been so nice with the comments about my latest cane. I thought I'd share this picture with you. It's not the greatest photo but you can see the scale of the cane a little better. The piece in the chair is the "dimensional" slice that I made with each row as I completed it. You can see the actual cane on the table to the right of the chair. When you see it in person it is much harder to see the image of the face up close but when you step back from it there it is.

Thanks again for all the nice words.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Here is the reduced cane. The cane originally was about 7 by 8 inches. With less than 2 inches in depth. The slice on the right is about 2 inches high. I am happy. (I guess I have to go back to unpacking now!) Of course my next obstacle is slicing the booger. I am going to see a friend who has come up with a new slicer. I am going to bring some of my cane in hopes that she needs one to demo on. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Leap of Faith - DaVinci Mosaic

Here is my latest mosaic cane. I am very pleased with the way she came out. I went with a more artistic interpretation with my use of colors. When I was building this cane I had to take a leap of faith that it was coming out right. At first when you just have a few lines it is hard to see the face. I remember when I had about 1/4 of the cane finished I had it sitting on my work table. When I came back to work on it and I turned on the light, from across the room I could see the face clearly. Of course up close it was difficult to see. Fortunately I had faith and kept working. As I said I am very pleased with the way she turned out. Since I had so much trouble with my last mosaic with taking a slice of the full size cane that this time I decided to save it by cutting off each line as I built it and saving it onto a sheet of clay. This resulted in a mosaic made up of uneven bits and pieces. I have included some pictures of this. One you can see from the end how uneven it is. Again from across the room the face is visible. I like the way the pieces are uneven. I hope you do too. I will try to reduce the cane tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I got my fix!

Hooray! I got my fix of clay last night. I unpacked my dream machine and some clay. Unpacked enough boxes so I could set up my table and I got back to work on a new mosaic face cane that I started last May. Boy it felt good. For awhile I could forget the pile of boxes looming all around me.

Registration will begin soon for Clay Fest in Wisconsin this year. I will be teaching there for the first time this year. Jeff Dever is have a pre-conference workshop. I took his class at Cabin Fever last year and it was WONDERFUL! He was wonderful too. Very sharing with all of his techniques and he was also an excellent teacher. If you get a chance I recommend his class. (After you sign up for mine that is) I will be teaching a class I call "Falling for Caning". It will cover my new kaleidoscope technique using fall colors. The Festival takes place Oct 21-24. Go here to read more about it. I hope to see y'all there.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Move Is Over - But not the work!

OK first I must apologize for the look of my website. Something got screwed up and I can't seem to get the background image back up.

Now on the more non-clay related news, I have moved into the new house. 95% of the boxes ended upstairs in my craft room. That's because that's where they belong. OK 95 is a bit of an exaggeration. If you look at the pics you can see why I NEED 25 ft of heaven. I can't wait to get it unpacked but so far I haven't found my toothbrush yet so there are a "few" higher priorities.

I hope to post soon about teaching at the Fall Clay Fest in Wisconsin this October.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Price Is Right!

I have a free tutorial posted at It is on cane reduction. Go here to learn everything that I know about cane reduction. Ok not everything but a lot! Nothing earth shattering in it but for those new to polymer clay I think it will be helpful. I am still working on my 5 from 1 cane class. In between packing boxes. I can't believe how much s#!t I have accumulated over a mere 28 years. Although I was glad I was a saver when I found a note written by one of my sons when he was little. It said "You are the best Mom I've ever had". Awww! I love that boy. And yes I did keep the note! To Hell with throwing things away!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Come Join Me in Vegas

As you know I am going to be teaching in Vegas this year at the Clay Carnival. Here is the class that I am going to be teaching. I am calling it "Kaleidoscope - the Next Generation". We will "boldly go" where no cane has gone before. I will show you how to make a simple cane and then turn that cane into several other canes. It is similar to my 5 from 1 Cane class that I hope to have up on Craftedu soon. Of course with the time and clay constraints I had to approach it in a different way. You will still end up with several coordinating canes that I think are quite special. So make you plans to come to Vegas Nov 4-7. Registration is now open. Go to for more information. If you have never been to Clay Carnival you don't know what you've been missing. This is the year you should go. If you've been before (and I'm talking to you Rowdy Room) you already know what fun there is. I hope to see y'all there.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

25 Feet of Heaven

Well I am knee deep in cardboard boxes. I can't find anything. (actually I never could) The place is a wreck. (OK it's a wreck most of the time) We close on the house in a three weeks. I know I should be going through closets and drawers and throwing things away. I just can't seem to get going. It's the same thing when ever I try to clean. I always say I have ADD (as in Attention Deficit Disorder) when it comes to cleaning. I start packing one box. I see something needs to go into another room. I get up walk into that room. About this time I forget what I came in here for and start doing something else. My sister has always said I should "pretend" that I am moving which supposedly would make me do what I am failing to do right now. Pretend or real moving is a bitch. I keep reminding myself of the 25 feet of heaven that I will have at the new house. Pictured is the unfinished attic space that we plan to convert into my studio. It is 25 feet long. I assured my husband that ALL of my craft stuff will fit into this room. Man I hope that is true. I have stuff in just about every room of this house. How does this happen? Don't answer that. Have they ever made a polymer clay tool that I could live without? Not to mention hobbies of the past. This is where I should cut down but you know...ADD and all. I figure if it doesn't get done now it will when I unpack the boxes. I think there is a circle of Hell that has you in a room with endless cardboard boxes to open. 25 feet of heaven.. 25 feet of heaven. 25 feet of heaven. 25 feet of heaven. OK I feel better now. Back to the Hell...I mean the boxes.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Progress and Possibilities

While I was away on vacation I heard some exciting news. I had won first place in the "Progress and Possibilities" contest for my "Mosaic Face Purse" in the function objects category. I also won third (by the judges) and first (by the members) for my art jewelry piece, mosaic pendant. You can go here to see all of the winners. Needless to say I was very happy about it.

I also have my Maasai woman necklace on display at the gallery in Lexington, Ma. I had a bit of a scare when it didn't arrive at the destination. Who knew that when you pay for insurance at the post office that that doesn't include tracking. If you want that you have to pay something more. Duh! If I want insurance doesn't it make sense that I want to know where it is? Of course no one at the PO suggested that to me. Fortunately it did show up at the PO in Lexington. I had the wrong zip code. OK it's the "first mistake I ever made".
I should have a free tutorial up on cane reduction at soon. The 5 in 1 class is coming along between packing for our move.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sneak Peek (OK I'm an idiot - a sneak peak would be a hidden mountain)

I thought I'd give you a little sneak peek of the new class that I am working on. It is going to be on cane construction. (It's a shocker, I know) I will teach step by step how to build a fairly simple cane. Then I will show you how to manipulate that cane into five other canes. You can see the finished canes here. I was pleased with the way they came out and I hope y'all will like it too.

I still haven't had a chance to work on "my own" clay projects. I have another mosaic that I started working on at the retreat last month, but I haven't touched it since I have been home. I also need to post some pictures of the fantastic trades I made. Very happy with those.

My book is at the publishers. They are talking about making it longer than originally planned. I take this to mean they were pleased with what I had done. Unfortunately it will mean it won't be out until later. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Turning the Tables on Cynthia

Hello. I'm Baaaaack! Well I just spent a fabulous week on a clay retreat. What can be better than spending a week claying with friends, having a bell ring when food is ready (with no dishes to wash!) and learning new and exciting techniques from some talented clay artists? Not much! Throw in some chocalate and you one happy camper! I thought I take the opportunity to turn the tables on Cynthia Tinapple. I am sure that most of you know her from her website She has been nice enough to feature some of my work so I figured the least I could do would be to repay the kindness. While on retreat (when she wasn't stuck on page 23) she was working on polymer rocks. These were similar to rocks you might find on hills or mounds. Or perhaps found between crevices or creases in the well formed earth. Some may even be found deep in the valleys. Although some may find smooth and rounded rocks to be of their liking, Cynthia prefers flat rocks with petroglyphs. When strung together, Cynthia's rocks create a lovely curve. We all hope Cynthia rocks on with her stones. Although I am sure there are some who'd prefer to get their rocks off.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My class is up!

My class at is up and ready for purchase. Yea!! Like everything in life it took longer than I thought. It was bad enough having my fingernail nubs in it but recording my voice was like fingernails on a blackboard. (If I had fingernails that is!) What is it about hearing your own voice that is just not right? I tried hard to stay away from what I call a preachers cadence. You know what I mean. When preachers get that dah, dah, dah daaaaah cadence. Of course I did leave a little Eakes humor in there. I didn't want to make it too dry. As I said Donna suggested I make it a for pay class. It's only $25 and I think you get your money's worth out of it. There are some other great classes at so AFTER you have taken my class you should give them a try. I hope to get some more complex caning classes up there soon. I am going to take a break from claying for others and clay for me for a change. The book is in the mail, my first class is done and I am heading for a retreat next week. Let's have another Yea!! I am so looking forward to it. I need to get my car in for service before I leave so I thought I'd clean it out. Pathetically I found the directions to the retreat in the backseat. (left over in there since I went LAST YEAR) Let me expound on my favorite saying and say "a clean car is a sign of a life misspent!

Some good news. My Maasai Woman piece pictured here has been selected as a finalist for the "Polymer Revolution" Gallery Exhibit at the Lexington Arts and Craft Gallery. It will be on display June 15-27. This is a new thing for me and I have to thank Libby Mills for encourageing me to submit an entry.

Now for the bad news. The house we were going to buy didn't appraise so the deal has fallen through. No new craft room just yet. Oh well life goes on.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 Here I come!

Well let's see...CraftEdu is about to go live with their Beta Site and I am not thru yet with a single tutorial. I am about 1/3 of the way thru with my free tutorial. It is going to be called "10 tips for Cane Construction". Catchy title? I hope y'all will check it out - love it - demand to see more - and then shell out the bucks to see another tutorial.

Well that is the idea, isn't it?

(There is some good news/bad news here. After talking to Donna, I have decided to add the cane to my tutorial. The bad news is that will no longer be free. Sorry but it won't be much and I hope you will feel that it will be worth it!)

Of course I have to get one out there to satisfy the demand. I have it planned out. (in my head) It is going to be a class on how to turn a single cane into five other canes. I was going to do ten but I realized you'd have to start with about 3 pounds of clay. (OK maybe I exaggerated a little!)

As for the book - it is finished! I am sending it to the publisher's tomorrow. For some reason I got a kick out of saying "Hold on, I am on the phone with my publisher". Something very ...I don't know... snooty about it. Like I'm really hot s#$t. Those who have followed me, know that I am TNBTIPC after all!

Oh yeah I almost forgot - I gave up on the fake nails for CraftEdu. What you see, is what you get. Nubs and all. It was just too much of a hassle.

My hubby and I just bought a new house. When most people are downsizing, we up size. Never was one to follow the crowd. Stayed up to 3 planning my new craft room. What fun! Of course the thought of going thru the junk that is in this house terrifies me. 27 years of accumulation. "I better not throw it away because I might need it someday" (of course I won't be able to find it!)

I guess that's it for now. The picture is the cane I used in my free tutorial. It's not really a "how to" but if you watch it you should be able to reproduce most of the cane. Maybe I'll do a "how to" here for those who are interested. Let me know if you are.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Clay means never having to say you're sorry.

But I am sorry about many things. First I have been meaning to write about Linda Hirschfield and her generosity. I am sorry it has taken me so long to acknowledge her thoughtfulness. I think it was two years ago at Clay Carnival that I passed out some poker chips that had some of my face canes on them. Linda received one, took it home and created a lovely silver pendant with it. She wore it to Clay Carnival the next year and I was touched that she took such time and effort to create the necklace. I do not know how to work with silver and I loved what she did. I ran into Linda at Synergy and she blew me away when she gave me the necklace. I promised to send her another cane slice. Here comes sorry number 2. Sorry Linda I will get it to you soon but I have just been so busy that I haven't gotten around to it. I know I also owe some cane slices to some people from Cabin Fever. Sorry number 3. Sorry number 4 to Cheryl I still plan on getting that cd of pics to you. I am also sorry (that's number 5) for taking so long to post to this blog.

Here come lame excuses 1 thru whatever. As you know I have been working on a book. Now this is not a large book but it is nonetheless very time consuming. Fortunately I am getting near the end with that. I am also thrilled to announce that I have been asked by Donna Kato to be one of the instructors on her new website called (I will tell you more about that in a later post) I am way behind where I should be on that project. Just got back from my yearly trip with my friends to the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament. (Had a great time. Took my computer. Didn't get anything done!) And if that isn't enough, my husband and I have been house hunting.

Excuses finished. Sorry.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I'm writing a book --- and it's a nail biter!

OK the title is a bit misleading. Yes I am writing a book but it is about polymer clay. (Shocker!) My problem (and if this is my biggest problem I am in good shape) is that I bite my nails. I know a nasty habit. My husband always asks me why I am so nervous. I, of course always explain, "because I am married to you!" No I really don't know why I bite my nails. It's worse when I am watching movies and TV. Well I am sure this is what you came to my polymer clay site - to read about my marriage and nails. I am not going to talk any more about the former but as for my nails they have created a problem for my book. Since it is a "how to" book you can imagine that it must include photos. Well there are just certain times that you have to get your hand in the picture. Ah yes it is all becoming clear. What do I do about the "nubs"? Great solution - press on nails. Good except they don't exactly stay on and I can't work with them on. That meant a little dab of superglue. Have you ever been successful at getting just a dab when you are in a hurry? Let's just say it is lucky that I have all of my fingers to type this stimulating blog and that they are not still stuck to my work surface.
So I press on (press on ... get it?) with my photo shoot with lovely fingernails on my thumb and first two fingers. I figured I could keep the rest out of the picture. Well when it came time to looking at the photos that I took dealing with cane reduction I noticed that one shot showed all of my fingers. No problem - a quick "manicure" via photoshop took care of that. I don't know if it will make it into the book or not but I thought I'd share.
I have so much more to talk about but I also have so much to do and I think they are deserving of their own entry so y'all come back now.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Treasures from Synergy

For those of you who missed Synergy here is another reason to start saving your nickels and dimes for Synergy 2012. Here are some of the treasures that I acquired while at Synergy. Some are items I purchased in the gallery. Others were purchased from Elise Winters personal stash at rediculously low prices. I am sure most of you know about Elise Winters and her attempts to raise polymer to a higher artistic level. She spoke at Synergy about being a DINK (double income no kids) and her fear of her polymer collection ending up on a garage sale table. Because of this she has donated a large portion of her collection to the Racine Arts Museum just outside of Chicago. She also presented attendees with the opportunity to purchase some of her collection at very low prices. The sale was a bit of a feeding frenzy. Picture drooling polymer enthusiasts racing to the tables for their chance to own some polymer treasures. I still can't believe that I let petite Bridget Downey block me out and grab the beautiful necklace created by Carol Simmons. It was a rare case of restraint on my part. Bridget emerged unbruised and I walked away with some treasures of my own. I was able to snap a pair of earring made Judith Skinner. Earrings by Judy Belcher and Debbie Jackson. A pin by Gwen Gibson and a necklace by Donna Kato. I will not tell you how low the prices were but I will tell you that there was a big smile on my face. Elise can rest well tonight knowing that her pieces are loved and appreciated. And to the artists whose work was represented I am sure there are others like me who now own little works of art that we may never have had it not been the generosity of Elise.
I did break down and purchase a pendant by Carol Simmons so that Bridget could quit worrying ab out me ripping hers off her neck! I also purchase a pin by Sarah Shriver and some earrings by Jenn Dorian who lives in the town next to my home town.

Throughout my blog I have made the attempt to drop the "clay" and just call it polymer. This idea was raised during Synergy with the thought this would help to not confuse us with earthen clay. I would like to call it polymer art clay. I think this makes it different and I think sounds better than just polymer. It's just a thought.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gallery Items

When I was at cabin Fever and Synergy I was able to put some items in the gallery for sale. I am happy to say that I did sell a few items. Here are some pictures of some of the items. The purse was not for sale but I took it to the banquet on the last day of Synergy. I have never been a purse person. (say that ten times fast!) My cell phone didn't even fit! I did get quite a few compliments on it so I thought I share it with you.